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Nicole Gilbert: Growing Up a Cross-Cultural Kid — Part 1

Nicole 'Niki' Gilbert
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Nicole Gilbert is a 22-year-old U.S. citizen. She has lived in Costa Rica, the United States and Portugal all before the age of 18. She was born in Costa Rica. Gilbert has extended family members in the United States, so she visited the USA about twice a year.

Nicole Gilbert
Photo courtesy of Nicole Gilbert, 2020.

At age 14, she from Costa Rica moved to Portugal and learned to fluently speak Portuguese. She also took ballet classes. After a year of dance and a new culture, her family moved her to Colorado, U.S.A. for high school. Homesick and stressed, she came back to Costa Rica to finish her education.

By late 2017, at age 18, she gave America another shot and found a new calling – snowboarding. She lived in Aspen and taught children how to snowboard for the winter season.

Her interests did not stop there; she wanted to keep experiencing new languages and cultures. After a year of snowboarding classes, she moved to Milan, Italy for a while to learn Italian and expand her cultural knowledge. After a few years of that, she went back home to study speech-language pathology at the University of Santa Paula. She missed Colorado and her curiosity eventually brought her back in 2020. She has since been saving up to continue her college education. Today, she speaks Italian, English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

The Meaning to Life as a CCK

Gilbert has spent quality time in Costa Rica, Italy, the U.S.A. and Portugal. While she had a complicated living situation, she is very grateful for her travels.

“It can be really difficult to make long-term friendships because the traveling changes whenever my parents move,” she said.

snowboarding
(Snowboarding Image by ctvgs from Pixabay)

Through her experiences through dance and teaching snowboarding, she has found meaning in relocating. It brought her an artistic and active outlook in life that she carries with her every day. It also allowed her to continue living a full life despite the struggles of being so mobile.

Meeting people who come from other countries and speak a multitude of languages really brought comfort. I have found a home through the different people and jobs I have had. Costa Rica will always be my safe place to return. I am lucky enough to have found a sense of belonging in all the different places I have lived.

Costa Rica (Image by Kjrstie from Pixabay)

As a result of her travels, she feels like she has a better sense of understanding people even through the many culture shocks she experienced. Everywhere she goes she learns something new. She also has the power to carry all her cultural knowledge with her making her a diversified person.

It was a hard ride as a child, but now I am an adult who can make more conscious decisions. I have lived in Colorado by myself almost for a full year. I now am working as a server in different restaurants and bars. I’ve learned so much about people just from being in one location and have been able to share my experiences with others. I’ve been able to maintain what I hope are lasting friendships and there’s nothing I really regret.

(Image by GraphicMama-team from Pixabay)
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